We define agoraphobia as a form ofAnxiety disorder. There is some controversy regarding the word “Agoraphobia”. In the literal sense of the word, agoraphobia means a fear of “open spaces” This does not provide a complete and appropriate understanding of the term. Agoraphobia refers to a relentless anxiety condition arising out of illogical and disabling fears. Open spaces don’t necessarily cause fear in people affected with agoraphobia. But such people are somewhat haunted by fear getting panic attacks and the affected persons may suffer panic attacks either in public places like temples, crowded market areas or at home. So to be more precise, Agoraphobia is marked by extreme fear arising out of circumstances wherein an escape seems impossible or where there is no availability of any help in case of a panic attack.
A group of certain feared activities may result in Agoraphobia. An individual affected with agoraphobia may find it extremely difficult to drive a vehicle, or to travel in a vehicle; to stand on a bridge, in a queue, in a crowd and to be away from home. These persons are always troubled by an unknown fear of an impending danger and often get panic attacks.
Medical professionals ascribe many factors that cause agoraphobia. If a people are exposed to anxiety aggravating events that recur again, they may develop agoraphobia. Such events cause an intense fear often leaving an indelible impression on that individual’s mind. The main cause of agoraphobia is the fear of having panic attacks. These panic attacks make the affected individual to live in the constant fear of having another attack. The sufferers feel unnerved by the fear of what may happen to them if they get a panic attack in such public places like markets, hotels, temples or while traveling in a car, bus or any other vehicle.
Another important cause of agoraphobia is the obsessed memory of the situation and experience of the once suffered panic attack. Again this causes fear and anxiety finally leading to another attack. Naturally such persons confine themselves to home and avoid visiting public places.
Medical practitioners classify the symptoms of agoraphobia into three categories and they are; Physical, Psychological and behavioral symptoms.
Physical symptoms of agoraphobia are very rare because the affected people avoid situations that make them intensely anxious. However the agoraphobics may experience certain physical disorders. Such people often feel hot and sweaty followed by irregular heartbeats. Giddiness, shivering, diarrhea, nausea and chest pain are the common symptoms.
Psychological symptoms of agoraphobia are expressive of the patient’s fears. The affected people are in constant fear being put in an embarrassing condition. The terrifying panic attack may cause breathlessness. These people find themselves in situations from which there is no way out. Such people may lose their mental balance. They shiver and blush in front of people.
The people affected with agoraphobia exhibit symptoms related to behavior. They try to be in their comfort zone, confining themselves to home for long periods. They keep themselves away from doing any physical activity as they are afraid of any possible panic attack. Such persons withstand a situation only with great fear and anxiety. They also avoid driving vehicles.
Agoraphobia can be treated effectively with trusted medications and with definite kinds of psychotherapy
Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder in which an individual strives to avoid situations that are panic provoking. Those with agoraphobia often avoid situations where they feel trapped, often avoid leaving home, and typically avoid situations where they are concerned about feeling embarrassed, trapped, or helpless if they would begin to panic. These individuals often do not feel safe or calm in public settings. Individuals with agoraphobia can become so overwhelmed with fear of panicking in a public setting that they become trapped within their own home.
Overcoming agoraphobia will require facing one’s fears. This can be extremely difficult for an individual with agoraphobia to do. However, medications and psychotherapy treatments have been shown to offer some people relief from their symptoms. Agoraphobia can occur in conjunction with other anxiety and psychological disorders. Individuals with this condition should resist closing themselves into an isolated existence. Although isolating oneself will be the natural instinctual response in someone with agoraphobia it is important to work to maintain relationships and activities in the community.
The following are eight potentially effective ways that an individual can take to gain control over their agoraphobia.
Make an appointment with a doctor. An individual with agoraphobia should find a doctor who they can work closely with to monitor and treat their symptoms. It can be extremely helpful to have a family member, friend, or loved one join the doctor appointments so that there is an additional information source for the doctor to learn information from and who can provide support.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is strongly recommended for individuals with agoraphobia to pursue. This involves reteaching the individual how to gain control of their body and anxiety.
Go on practice outings with another trusted individual. An individual with agoraphobia should challenge themselves to go to anxiety producing locations with another trusted person. First start with easy outings and slowly work up to more challenging ones. If an individual will not even leave their home they should first try to go somewhere just outside of their home, even into the yard in front of their home. Through making small steps with safe trusted and supportive people by their side individuals with agoraphobia can slowly regain their life again.
Get connected to a therapist. Therapists that treat individuals with agoraphobia will often make special accommodations for individuals that suffer from this anxiety disorder. They will often begin to meet with individuals inside of their home or travel with them when they make public outings. A therapist can play a critical role in helping an individual with agoraphobia to face their fears and overcome them.
Change your diet. An individual with agoraphobia may benefit from making changes to their diet. Some herbal supplements have been shown to assist in relieving anxiety. It is always important to consult with a doctor before taking any sort of a supplement. It is also critically important to make sure that a supplement does not interfere with any medications that the individual is on.
Build new relationships. Although branching out and meeting new people is the last thing that an individual with agoraphobia will want to do it is also the most important thing for them to do. Through building relationships an individual can reduce their anxiety levels. Additionally, they also can build a valuable support network.
Avoid drugs and alcohol. These items can significantly increase the presence of agoraphobia symptoms. It is critically important for an individual with this disorder to avoid using drugs and alcohol.
Learn to relax. Learning and building relaxation skills is critically important for gaining control over one’s anxiety. Learning how to take deep relaxing breaths and knowing what things reduce one’s anxiety is critically important for gaining control over one’s anxiety.